onyxhawke: (Default)
( Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:07 pm)
I love review of books, especially my clients books. And of course reviews of my clients books where the reviewer clearly loves my clients work, well that's almost as good as selling the book was in the first place.

So I'm going to do a contest that may be continued for other books but will give unpaid reviewers a chance to win free books. Who knows, maybe some day I'll even have a spiffy graphic to go with it.

So what inspired this contest? Well, a wonderful review on KingoftheNerds. It's a real readers review, it feels genuine, and get's exactly what's right about the book. Here is a highlight of the review;

"...Enge's clever writing really came to the fore as the novel moved on and turned it into something that was truly fantastic (::groan::). It's old school and new school, dark without ever being oppressive and yet somehow managed to keep an almost constant smile on my face. It's one of those novel that leaves you a bit crestfallen that it's over, not because the ending was disappointing (it wasn't!) but because you have to stop living in the world it crafted. The second book The Crooked Way looks like it'll be out in October and I for one can't wait to read more."

Great review, full of spoilers though so be careful.

Now, back to that contest.

I've decided to call it the Lunchpail Review Contest.
To enter:

  • Write a review of The Blood of Ambrose somewhere online
  • email the review, a link to it, and your contact info to: lunchpail@onyxhawke.com
  • Entries must be received by 7pm ET May 21st 2009
I will post links to each of the reviews here on my LJ between May 22 and May 30th (possibly sooner depending on the number of reviews) and will after each review has been up at least one day post a poll for three days allowing readers to vote on the reviews.

The winner will receive a copy of This Crooked Way.

The past couple weeks have graced me with the time to read some really good books. Some are by authors I've only heard of in the last year or so, others are books I've owned for years and somehow just never opened.

Way back in '04 I won/purchased the first five Dresden Files books, autographed. Since then they have remained on my top shelf untouched, and something I wasn't sure I'd ever get too. Fortunately, I snagged the first one to read after going through a couple of my favorite rereads. I've since read three of them, back to back. Really fun books. Readers may find the tone similar to Gaiman in the incidentals.

The two rereads were Lois Bujold's Curse of Chalion, and David Weber's Shadow of Saganami. What great books. Two very different styles of character creation, two very different worlds, and two books that have insinuated themselves at the top of my fave books by those writers.

Julie Czerneda's A Thousand Words For Stranger came highly recommended, and has been pimped at various times by Lois Bujold. This of course made me highly nervous. Fortunately, the book lives up to tall the hype. And Julie is wonderful woman to meet.

Patricia Briggs wrote the wonderful "Steal the Dragon" all the intrigue and drama of the uber-fat fantasy's in a slim volume complete with characterization done with efficient flair.

Ilona Andrews wrote the gritty, gripping "Magic Bites", no saccharin sweetness to this skiffy morsel, and no pretentious literary nonsense either. Just good writing first to last.

As for where I've been. Rather sick. Nothing serious, just a nasty virus that put me in bed for a couple days and has made catching up an interesting proposition.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jan. 26th, 2008 02:17 pm)
I've been reading a lot lately. I've blazed through months of slush. Some of which got rejected in the first three or four pages, some which held me until the end but didn't quite tip the scale to being something I'd pick up. Some of the common problems have been; redundancy, black and white universes, and sloppy language use. Fortunately for me there are these wonderful things called books. Some, much like the slush is decent, some has a very bad case of meh, and some is anti-slush. Some of the latter category that I've been reading is detailed below. Mild Spoilers, i don't expect that anything in the commentary takes place after the first 1/4 of the book.

First up was a YA novel that I'm pretty certain was in my WFC gift bag. Magic or Madness . Justine Larbalestier's is an entertaining yarn about a young girl who had been raised by her slightly loopy mother and moved all over Australia never staying in one place for long. Reason, our young heroine finds herself in the clutches of the person her mother feared most. Reason's Grandmother. All of Reason's young life has been spent avoiding the woman she has been raised to believe is evil incarnate. There are one or two very minor things in this I could live with having been buffed down a bit, but then I'm not the intended audience. All in all this was an excellent read and held up better to a critical adult reader than most of the YA on the market.

Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey was something i wanted to read since the first time i saw the cover. While the main characters aren't the sort of people some would ever give anything except a nervous glare, they are the right characters for the story and the setting. If you're looking for a typical formulaic fantasy novel, go elsewhere. Butcher Bird is anything but another cookie cutter fantasy novel. Kadrey smoothly take your expectation and slaps you in the head with them in this twisted tale. Fun.

I got the immense pleasure of reading my first Elizabeth Bear book recently. Undertow is really a top notch novel. It has that dim, smoky aura thats right out of a prohibition era speakeasy that has all but gone by the wayside in todays science fiction. Undertow is set on a corporate colony. The levels of tech in the book are a very interesting mix, the culture is very solidly drawn and despite never drawing a single parallel to our world today has relevant things to say and better still relevant questions to ask. One of the things I like best about this book is that Elizabeth wastes not even a single sentence. Undertow, like the dangerous pull under the surface of the water will suck you in so smoothly you won't know it's even happened until its too late.

The last of todays books was C.E. Murphy's Heart of Stone. I was almost afraid to read this book, and its certainly the one I had the highest expectations and hence the largest worries about. Having read all three of the books in Catie's The Walking Papers series, and having read the first three chapters before interviewing her at Pi-Con last August, I knew this was going to be very different. I knew Margrit was unlike Joanne, and that she wasn't gifted with a octogenarian cab driver to remind her to either look before she leaped or sprout wings. The differences between the two ladies were stark, as was the tone. To me, the Walker Papers all have a lighter tone.Heart of Stone is by no means dark, but for those of you who haven't yet read it (go do so) expecting a carbon copy of the other series will lead straight to disappointment. On the other hand this book clearly demonstrates the breadth of Murphy's story telling ability. Magrit is fun in a completely different way than Jo is. The internal monologues are different, the women have no physical resemblance, and lead different types of lives. But the important thing isn't what separates them, its what binds the two together. That tie is simply the exquisite way they are written. This is an excellent read in and of itself and will make Murphy many new fans.
I shall post three links.

These links are not safe for work.

I repeat NSFW!

The first is a link to something every  writer, editor, and agent should be required to read yearly.
The second is a review and critical analysis of a history on American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.
The third is a video that is just plain funny.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2007 12:47 pm)
The always entertaining Dave Freer [profile] davefreer has updated his LJ twice in the last couple days after a hiatus.


Go read.
Third in series is excellent stand-alone

By Mark Lardas

Published June 17, 2007
"A Mankind Witch," by David Freer, Baen Books, $7.99 paperback, 499 pages.

Cair Aidin is a corsair king whose ship sank out from under him. Fortunately, a passing ship rescued him. Unfortunately it was a Norse raider on a slave-hunting trip. His rescuers view him as a point of profit.

Cair could ransom himself. His North African kingdom would pay handsomely for his safe return. But he is now in Norway. Between Cair and home is the Holy Roman Empire. The Empire has a price on Cair's head. It can outbid Cair's kingdom.

Cair instead decides it is safer to become a thrall in the kingdom of Telemark, in Norway. Given time, he could escape.

Cair does not believe in witches or magic. Cair is willing to let his fellow slaves believe he is a man-witch. They are superstitious barbarians in his eyes. They believe in trolls and grendels, after all. But if they think Cair is a witch, they will leave him alone. Cair encourages the belief with some basic psychology and conjuror's tricks.

Such is the situation at the opening of "A Mankind Witch." Set in an altered 16th-century Europe, it starts out as if it is going to be a standard variant on "A Connecticut Yankee."

Author David Freer is playing a joke on Cair and, to an extent, on his readers. As the story unfolds, you learn that, in this world, magic, trolls and grendels do exist.

The powers of darkness are working with King Vortenbras of Telemark. Vortenbras seeks a return to the Viking good old days of plunder and pillage. The dark powers wish to undermine the Empire, bastion of Christianity.

Pawns in the game include Cair, Vortenbras‚ stepsister Signy and the emperor's nephew, Manfred Prince of Brittany.

A pagan relic has been stolen from Telemark, and Manfred is sent to help find it. Vortenbras wants it to remain lost and uses his sister as a scapegoat in the theft. But Cair has fallen in love with Signy and sets out to rescue her. The action that follows is fast-paced, absorbing and enormously entertaining.

"A Mankind Witch" is the third book of the "Heirs of Alexandria" series to appear, but is the second book chronologically in the events of the series. It does not really matter. It is an excellent stand-alone novel.

Freer was co-author in the other two books. He goes solo, this time and does a first-rate job.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian and model-maker, lives in League City.


Swiped whole from the Galveston Daily News.

Go buy this book. :-)


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